By: a Northerner By Birth But Southerner By Choice
For: Midwesterners, Yankees, Hoosiers, West Coasties, and anyone who needs to know
1. BBQ Means Low and Slow- Many people misuse the word BBQ. If you plan on having some people over and throwing some hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill you are not having a BBQ. Repeat after me: BBQ means low and slow. The ribs, pulled pork, and brisket you get at a BBQ restaurant have been cooked for hours and hours, maybe even DAYS!
2. Pink Means Smoked- In this case, pink meat does not mean "CALL THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT", it means your meat has been smoked to maximum tastiness, usually the pinker, the better.
3. Don't be Scared by Crappy Exterior - Most tasty BBQ places are in tiny little buildings on the outskirts of town. Don't be surprised to see a collection of fat smiley pig figurines. My all time favorite BBQ restaurant, Oklahoma Joe's in Kansas City is in a gas station. I am always skeptical of "fancier" BBQ joints, but there are some good ones, try The Pit in Raleigh, NC.
4. Coleslaw on the Pork = YUM - When I first saw people put coleslaw on their pulled pork sandwiches I thought it seemed weird. Don't knock it till you try it! It adds some cool freshness to your hot and spicy pork. Once my mom asked if she could get her coleslaw on the side instead of on the sandwich, and the waitress told her that if she wanted it on the sandwich, it was included, but if it was on the side, it cost extra! (This was years ago but I believe it occurred at Allen & Sons).
5. Choose Sides Wisely / Get Your Own Dang Coleslaw- Most places allow you to choose 2 (or more) sides to go with your meat. While side choices are personal, I always get coleslaw if I am having pulled pork and it doesn't come on the sandwich (see tip on coleslaw). I demonstrated the coleslaw on pork technique to my BF and he proceeded to eat all my coleslaw. Don't get me wrong, I love sharing food, but there's a limit- get your own coleslaw! In addition to coleslaw, I usually go with something unique and southern.... sweet potato fries are a favorite, and Olde Time BBQ in NC has apple pie sticks- fried batter filled with apples and cinnamon, yum!
6. BBQ Sauces Vary by Region- Each region has its own BBQ sauce "style". They come in different colors- red, yellow, white- and different flavors - sweet, tangy, or a combination. Here is a fun song to help you learn the types of BBQ. Sadly, they fail to mention MY home state of Virginia! In case you were curious, I think that Virginia mostly takes after North Carolina in our BBQ tastes- usually vinegar based, but sometimes you can find some red, sweet BBQ sauce.